Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.
Home Warranty Plan Rewards Salespeople
A new service reminds homeowners about maintenance tasks and keeps your name fresh in their minds.
September 1, 2002
Real estate professionals often purchase home warranties as closing gifts or, where legal, as incentives to buyers and sellers. They are particularly useful for homeowners of older homes that are beyond builders' warranties. Until a disposal freezes or a hot water heater leaks, many new homeowners aren't aware of just how many little things can go wrong with their older home. Much of the trouble they might experience could have easily been prevented with proper maintenance. But whether they use the warranty or not, they might forget the salesperson who purchased it for them.
That changes with a new program that home warrantor American Home Shield has initiated with a company called RealMinder. Not only does it give homeowners monthly reminders that will protect their home investment, it also reminds them of the salesperson who purchased the warranty. When salespeople purchase home warranties for customers, they can now order the warranty with a new e-mail feature called RealMinder. RealMinder e-mails the consumer twice-monthly reminders of home maintenance tasks. American Home Shield and the salesperson that purchased the warranty cosponsor the e-mails.
When the consumer clicks on the link, it goes to the homeowner's Web site, where the homeowner can log in to view a list of monthly tasks. The user can the find out how to perform maintenance items or go to a troubleshooting page if they don?t know how to fix a repair problem, among other menu items. After completing a task, homeowners can check it off online; completed tasks move a colored sphere from unsafe (red) to safe (green.) The pages are marked with the salesperson's name. Mouse over the name and the homeowner goes straight to the salesperson's e-mail address.
"RealMinder's program is based on the proven idea that the best way for salespeople to build repeat and referral business is to stay in touch with their established customers," says Dave Crawford, AHS Senior Vice President of Real Estate. "And the best way to do that is to offer them something of practical value.
"Most salespeople know they spend too much time chasing new customers, while established customers are allowed to drift away for want of a follow-up program. The attraction of RealMinder is that it offers homeowners something of real value and it ties in directly with the natural interest they have in maintaining their home. We've found homeowners appreciate any service from their salesperson that helps them maintain- and thus enhance-their home's value."
Crawford cites an industry survey, which claims 77 percent of buyers were happy with their salesperson, 74 percent responded they would use the same salesperson again in future transactions, but only nine percent of survey respondents did, because fewer than 10 percent could remember their salesperson's name.
"The RealMinder program extends the value of the real estate professional to their clients past closing, by associating them with a program that benefits homeowners throughout the homeownership cycle," says Alain Mazer, RealMinder COO. "A salesperson's name is included in e-mail notifications sent to his or clients, and on their RealMinder Web pages, so when it's time to buy or sell again, the homeowner can contact that agent with just a click of a mouse."
There is no extra charge to the salesperson or the homeowner to have an AHS warranty with RealMinder.
(c) Copyright 2002 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.
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